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USGS Rescues Residents Isolated by Lava Flows

June 8, 2018, 3:21 PM HST
* Updated June 8, 3:38 PM
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Two helicopter rescues were conducted for residents who had become isolated by the Lower East Rift Zone Fissure 8 lava flows on Sunday, June 3, 2018.

U.S. Geological Survey personnel rescued residents in an area isolated by lava flows and first responders conducted a second rescue.

According to the USGS, while on a routine overflight, they saw three people on the road in an area cut off by the lava. USGS stopped to inquire about their situation, and then when asked, airlifted them to a safe place.

Fissure 8 from Luana Street in Leilani Estates on May 29, 2018. at 7:04 p.m. PC: Crystal Richard

USGS Hawai‘i Volcano Observatory Geologist Janet Babb said during a news media brief on Monday June 4, 2018, that the USGS helicopter dropped the scientists off in a safe place, then picked up the isolated residents.

They had become trapped after trying to move belongings and had no cell phone service.

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USGS personnel dropped the residents off in a safe area and then picked up the USGS scientist and went on to complete their observation overflight.

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There was no additional information provided about this rescue.

Civil Defense appears to not have had a role in this evacuation.

An additional rescue was made at approximately 2:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon for a woman who was in a lava-isolated area near Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland.

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FEMA Media Relations Manager David Mace said the woman had been contacted by a helicopter rescue crew earlier in the day and had declined an offer to be evacuated. Later in the day, she made contact with a third party and requested to be evacuated. She was airlifted to safety along with a rabbit and an undisclosed number of chickens. The woman was uninjured. No additional information about her identity or where she was taken is available.

Mace said he spoke to Hawai‘i Police Department personnel, who confirmed that all four of these individuals were issued citations.

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